Like many other industries, the railway industry can be tough to break into for graduates and those looking to make a career change. The high standards of railway companies, the government regulations that govern railway employees, and the long hours of work on the rails all combine to make for a difficult point of entry for young professionals. However, there are a number of ways in which a graduate or young professional can realize their dream of working on the rails. The most important thing to remember for these professionals is that they must demonstrate both their enthusiasm and their skills in equal measure.
University graduates and those about to leave university for the work force should consider the many connections that their school has to the railway industry. Professors and instructors in technical areas may have worked with railways in the past or have a connection with a particular railway company that could open up some new possibilities. Advising and job placement offices at UK and European universities can often assist graduates in the job hunt by giving them contact information for railway hiring managers.
Another way in which potential railway professionals can break into the industry is by doing an apprenticeship or internship during or immediately after their university days. Railway companies are looking for the next generation of railway professionals and they often provide apprenticeships for talented, driven graduates who see themselves working with the company twenty years down the road. These positions are often unpaid or paid very little but they quickly turn into permanent positions for the right candidates.
Professionals looking to enter the railway industry should consider working with a recruiting agency during their job hunt. Recruiting agencies often have exclusive connections to railway companies or hire project workers that are offered permanent positions based on their excellent efforts. These agencies provide a full range of services, from basic coaching on interview skills to a comprehensive look at how to craft an effective CV.
Young professionals in particular should look to family, friends, and former employers for help in their railway job hunt. Family members or siblings may have connections to railway professionals, who can help get an interview or a part time placement. As well, friends and former employers may know someone in a hiring office at a local railway company who can put in a good word. In the railway industry, and in most industries, it is all about getting your foot in the door early in your career.